1. 157
    1. 85

      The network is the people, not a domain name. #lobsters is staying with Libera.Chat.

      1. 6

        freenode has taken over the #lobsters namespace*. I was in the channel directing people to the current place, but I’ve left to avoid any appearance of sanctioning freenode’s channel. Given how long we were present there may be some confusion, so I wanted to leave an explicit comment that, no, there is nothing on freenode that is in any way affiliated with any aspect of this website.

        • Along with hundreds of others. And removed every banmask, which they’ll learn to regret pretty quickly.
      2. 4

        So basically Libera.Chat is an old-fashioned permanent netsplit, where every channel in the original network is also available there? I haven’t seen those in over twenty years!

        1. 18

          where every channel in the original network is also available there?

          No. Communities that want to move to Libera will have to create the channels there as well, nothing is created/moved “automatically”.

        2. 14

          I don’t think it’s like that; I will be shutting down all the freenode channels I operate as soon as the matrix bridge to Libera is operational. There will be stragglers, but I don’t know of any channels which are seriously considering remaining on freenode.

          1. 4

            Can you please explain why Matrix is such a killer feature for you? I keep seeing it mentioned, but I don’t know much about it, particularly how it is better/different than other chat technologies that have come and gone over the years (e.g. jabber).

            1. 5

              I use Matrix to bridge all my other cats together. I can get Signal, Telegram, Hangouts and Matrix all in one place (FB too until I abandoned that).

              My Google voice I recently moved to jmp.chat/XMPP and sadly the XMPP bridges to Matrix are lacking. I’ve started looking at biforst, but it’s super early alpha.

            2. 5

              I personally don’t care much about Matrix, but in the channels I operate, we have a decent contingent of users connecting from Matrix because they prefer not to have to set up a bouncer to get messages when they’re disconnected. For my own use, the bouncer setup is way better, but I’m trying to be accommodating for the preference of others.

              In theory, the idea of truly federated chat is awesome, but in practice everyone uses the flagship server and setting up your own homeserver is intensely unpleasant. So they have a long way to go to actually achieve the benefits of decentralization really.

              1. 1

                IMO the benefits are here if you use it as a glorified IRC bouncer. Yes I know there are plenty of those already but I’m too lazy to host one and I don’t want to pay for one.

                1. 2

                  I agree it’s a serviceable bouncer, but the benefits of decentralization have nothing to do with that.

            3. 1

              Simple answer for me: Matrix is the IRC bouncer I always wanted but never had the discipline to keep running successfully.

              Persistent presence on all the channels I care about. Huge win.

    2. 20

      For context, see https://www.kline.sh/

      As far as I can see, the birds have finally come home to roost from the sale of Freenode many years ago.

      Edit this submission can probably folded into https://lobste.rs/s/p50qbz/freenode_now_belongs_andrew_lee_i_m

      1. 24

        When I heard about the acquisition several years ago, I assumed the eventual result would be a lot more dire.

        Having a clean break and switching over to Libera Chat is a much better outcome than I expected. My hat is off to all the former freenode volunteers who have put in so much work to keep the network running and have successfully navigated this transition in a way that will protect the network for its users over corporate interests going forward.

      2. 10

        This resignation letter also has some more backstory and lots of links: https://mniip.com/freenode.txt

        And admin access to the freenode servers has been lost: https://twitter.com/freenodestaff/status/1395046345145307140

        1. 10

          This part is by far the worst:

          Some users reported[6][7] that Andrew Lee had already started assembling a replacement team, and that people were bribed to join with the prospect of money, power, vanity, and even revenge on former staff[8].

          1. 5

            Oh, so our friendly neighborhood freenode admins will be replaced by people who are only in it for the power trip and the money. That’ll definitely end well.

          2. 1

            Maybe I’m dense or maybe those chat logs were too long and I missed it. Where was the bribe?

            1. 5

              Not sure where money comes in, but here’s the power thing:

              [23:06:08] <nirvana> and the opers will just /wallops and global notice their new network
              [23:07:35] <Ariadne> i mean, i have important work to do.  dealing with an IRC network is not really something i want to be doing this decade outside of fucking around for fun with IRCX
              [23:07:51] <Ariadne> i have code running on two planets
              [23:07:53] <nirvana> but
              [23:07:57] <nirvana> you can ban your enemies.
              [23:08:01] <nirvana> im turning tomaw
              [23:08:01] <Ariadne> i don't have enemies
              [23:08:07] <nirvana> and jess in to a bot.
              [23:08:22] <nirvana> i know you don't, we're older now
              [23:08:25] <nirvana> more mature
              [23:08:31] <nirvana> i was just trying to make you laugh
              [23:08:52] <nirvana> dont tell me that sweet revenge of a kline /fuckyou - just ONE to those people who dissed on charybdis
              [23:08:59] <nirvana> wouldn't make you feel good
              [23:09:01] <Ariadne> i don't really care
              [23:09:14] <nirvana> i think about it, i wouldn't do it though
              [23:09:18] <nirvana> have to walk the higher path
              [23:09:29] <nirvana> im still banned from snoonet lol
              [23:10:58] <Ariadne> your employer owns snoonet
              [23:11:45] <nirvana> i actually dont work for ltm
              [23:11:50] <nirvana> still
              [23:12:06] <nirvana> i work for his brother though
              [23:12:09] <nirvana> alex lee
              [23:12:48] <nirvana> i help where i can but im too busy at the office to do much else
              [23:12:53] <nirvana> like have a girlfriend, mine left me ;/
              [23:13:19] <nirvana> and actually i think its just prawnsalad that owns snoonet now
              [23:13:21] <nirvana> i could be wrong tho
              [23:15:44] <Ariadne> anyway, i think i've contributed as much as i can to the topic of IRC network governance with the charybdis and atheme software packages as well as the atheme operator workflow (of which freenode still uses 
              to this day for training)
              [23:16:07] <Ariadne> having an o:line means additional work for me.  it is a distraction.
              [23:16:37] <nirvana> ill make sure you get +oO in #freenode
              [23:16:40] <nirvana> so you can kick people
              [23:16:44] <Ariadne> why the hell do i want that
              [23:16:45] <nirvana> my gift to you pal
              [23:16:56] <Ariadne> stop trying to bribe me
              [23:16:59] <Ariadne> this is just pathetic
              [23:17:05] <nirvana> might even give you flags +f
              [23:17:08] <nirvana> so your friends cna join in
      3. 2

        This is VERY interesting. Happy to see IRC is still around, at least.

      4. [Comment removed by author]

    3. 15

      There are a lot of accusations in this and the subsequently linked posts against this ominous person called Andrew Lee. With all the democratic impetus on these resigning statements, please audiatur et altera pars. Where’s the statement from Lee to the topic? What does he think about this? Does he not want to comment (that is, takes the accusations as valid) or is it simply not linked, which I would find a dubious attitude from people who insist on democratic values? Because, if you accuse anyone, you should give him opportunity to explain himself.

      Don’t get me wrong. What I read is concerning. But freenode basically is/was the last bastion of IRC. The brand is well-known. The proposed alternative libera.chat will fight an uphill battle against non-IRC services. Dissolving/attacking the freenode brand is thus doing IRC as a whole a disfavour and should only be done after very careful consideration and not as a spontaneous act of protest.

      1. 13

        Where’s the statement from Lee to the topic?

        You can dig through IRC logs referenced in the resignation letter linked by pushcx above and see what he has to say to the admins directly, if you assume the logs haven’t been tampered with. My personal assessment is he makes lots and lots of soothing reassuring non-confrontational noises to angry people, and then when the people who actually operate the network ask for actual information he gives them none. When they offer suggestions for how to resolve the situation he ignores them. When they press for explanations of previous actions (such as him asking for particular people to be given admin access) he deflects and tries to make it seem like the decision came from a group of people, not just himself.

        So yeah. Smooth, shiny, nicely-lacquered 100% bullshit.

        1. 16

          I’ve now skimmed through some of the IRC logs. It’s been long that I read so heated discussions, full of swear words, insults, accusations, dirty language, and so on. This affects both sides. It’s like a transcript from children in the kindergarten trying to insult each other and it’s hard to believe that these persons are supposed to be adults. This is unworthy of a project which so many FOSS communities are relying on. Everyone should go shame in the corner and come back in a few days when they have calmed down.

          I’m not going to further comment on the topic. This is not how educated persons settle a dispute.

          1. 6


      2. 11

        Lee has issued a statement under his own name now: https://freenode.net/news/freenode-is-foss

        1. 10

          As a rebuttal to the URL alone, freenode isn’t foss, it’s a for profit company. So before you even click through you are being bullshitted.

          1. 14

            freenode isn’t foss, it’s a for profit company.

            You can be for profit and foss. So this is a non-sequitur.

            1. [Comment removed by moderator pushcx: Please don't pick this fight here.]

              1. [Comment removed by moderator pushcx: Pruning off-topic fight.]

        2. 3

          Ah, thanks.

      3. 7

        Self-replying: Lee has been e-mail-interviewed by The Register, giving some information on how he sees the topic: https://www.theregister.com/2021/05/19/freenode_staff_resigns/

      4. 7

        “freenode” is both a brand and an irc network run by a team of people. if the team did not want to work with andrew lee, but wanted to continue running the network, their only option was to walk away and establish a new network, and try to make that the “real” freenode in all but the name.

        this is not the first brand-vs-actual-substance split in the open source world; i don’t see that they had any other choice after lee tried to assert control over freenode-the-network due to ownership of freenode-the-brand.

      5. 6

        who insist on democratic values?

        Democracy isn’t about hearing both sides. It’s about majority winning.

        Actually getting angry over one-sided claims and forming an angry mob is very democratic and has been its tradition since the time of ancient greeks.

      6. 5

        If and when a representative of Lee’s company (apparently https://imperialfamily.com/) posts something, a member can submit it to the site.

        As far as I know Lee or his company have made no statement whatsoever.

      7. 2

        Could this just be the death knell of irc? A network split is not good as people will be confused between Freenode and Libera Chat.

        Most young people that look for a place to chat probably look at discord first. For example, the python discord server has 220000 registered users and 50000 online right now. I don’t believe that the python channel on Freenode has ever gotten close to that.

        1. 16

          Having multiple networks is healthy.

        2. 11

          I strongly believe that IRC is on a long slow decline rather than going to die out due to any one big event. Mostly because there are so many other IRC servers. It’s an ecosystem not a corporation.

        3. 7

          IRC has survived, and will yet survive, a lot of drama.

        4. 3

          Well, people were already confused between OFTC and Freenode. More the merrier.

    4. 11

      The obvious question is why freenode was never registered as a charity. Remember: never donate to organizations not regulated as charities in their place of incorporation.

      1. 19

        libera, the new organisation, is registered under a swedish non-profit. For what it’s worth, neither libera nor freenode ever taken cash donations etc from normal users.

        1. 6

          Freenode was Limited by Guarantee, which is English law jargon for a non-profit. A legal form guarantees nothing.

          1. 7

            No it isn’t. Companies limited by guarantee are a common corporate choice for charities but being registered as a charity is a different thing.

            1. 1

              Late answering, but not for profit isn’t the same thing as a charity.

        2. 1

          libera nor freenode ever taken cash donations etc from normal users.

          This doesn’t sound like a sustainable model. Look at discord!?

          How has this “charity only” crap prevailed when it’s been $ that funds infrastructure and development?

          At least Patrick at Slackware takes my money (finally!!) but it’ll never be a Red Hat.

          1. 13

            This doesn’t sound like a sustainable model.

            “never taken cash donations” does not mean “never taken donations”

            Freenode has outlasted countless VC-backed chat startups, and Libera will outlast even more.

          2. 7

            it sustained freenode for 20 years and was never the limiting factor. When you have dozens of large communities like fedora, gentoo, python, etc that you host, there are plenty of responsible and generous donors when it comes to getting the few, small servers that irc requires.

      2. 7

        What would this have prevented? You can own and sell a charity just as well as you can sell any corporation.

        1. 4
      3. 7

        Agreed. Let’s all take note, this is why we have nonprofits: so we can codify the sorts of arrangements people build to operate Communal Things Involving Money. Person Foo may start a fight and chase off Person Bar, and Person Baz may start neutral but then get pissed off and leave such a toxic environment… But a nonprofit provides a framework to make sure things can actually keep operating in a sane fashion. Otherwise you end up with Foo needing a lawyer to get the domain name, Bar needing to be hunted down and asked for the server passwords, and Baz accidentally being left as primary contact on the donation-linked bank account for three years. I speak from personal experience here.

      4. 6

        It was, for a long-ish time, registered as a charity as the Peer-Directed Projects Center (PDPC). IIRC they dissolved that as the legal overhead was significant.

      5. 4

        As of at least the last five years, Freenode never accepted monetary donations; only donations of servers.

      6. 2

        It was, but the charitable organization didn’t actually bring in enough money to maintain its own existence, so it folded several years ago.

        1. 1

          Right but that means the charity was really a money collector not the operator or holder of assets.

    5. 8

      Why not jump from old and quirky IRC protocol to e.g. Matrix? Also, matrix is an open federation, so this kind of grab shouldn’t be possible.

      1. 15

        We are ourselves old and quirky.

        Freenode had a ~25 year run, which is significantly better than the median free tier on an online service.

        1. 5

          It is indeed quite the accomplishment. But IRC is clearly on the decline.

          1. 1

            IRC works well with very slow connections like dialup and archaic machines, but not unstable connections unfortunately, my main complaint is the lack of at least a small chat log without using 3rd party services/sw. Any small disruption will make me lose messages in a rural area internet.

      2. 7

        My main issue with Matrix is the lack of a client that I can run easily on extremely low-powered hardware. Just about all the major, well-supported clients are built on Electron. Compare that to IRC: you can have useful IRC client in just about ~5k lines of C (yes, I’ve written my own IRC client).

        1. 4

          I have to wonder if this is really the limiting factor for IRC - if we’re measuring protocols based on what you can write on a coke can, IRC might win, but is that what people actually want?

          1. 2

            i do. the irc client i use is very fast and configurable. i don’t want to run a full web browser and 100000 tons of javascript just to exchange text with people. i currently use the weechat-matrix plugin for weechat to access matrix but it is unmaintained and missing many features i guess.

            1. 4

              weechat-matrix isn’t unmaintained - it’s stable. the author is prioritising matrix-rust-sdk, but weechat should work great.

              1. 2

                Yeah ok, ‘unmaintained’ is a little strong. My point is, nothing new is being added to improve support for matrix (multiline messages, etc) and there are lots and lots of quirks, having used it daily for many months now. And the author has made it clear they have no interest in improving the existing plugin while they go off and RWIR..

                It’s “good enough” for me, but a far cry from supporting everything matrix has to offer. That’s the case for almost all matrix clients though, as I’m sure you are aware.

            2. 3

              Fwiw I heard yesterday about https://github.com/poljar/weechat-matrix-rs . When it’s cooked it might be a good way for me to try Matrix seriously.

              1. 1

                Yeah, that has been around for a bit, and seems to be progressing along slowly. I don’t think it’s anywhere close to replacing the old python version of the plugin in its current state, and seems to be a long ways off from being there.

                1. 1

                  Ah, good to know, thank you. Will keep an eye on it :)

        2. 1

          https://github.com/tulir/gomuks is roughly 15k lines of Go (+ non-trivial LOC from dependencies of course).

      3. 4

        try hosting matrix

        1. 3

          What makes you think I haven’t?

          1. 6

            Everyone I’ve talked to personally who’s tried this has nothing but horror stories when it comes to running their own homeserver. The consensus I’ve heard is that it’s only practical if you have staff to look after it or if you prevent your channels from federating.

            I admire the vision but they have a long way to go before actually realizing the benefits of a decentralized system.

            1. 4

              I’ve had very few issues running it myself. I have Synapse, Postgres, and Nginx running along with IRC, Discord, and Slack app services on a 2 GB VPS. Other than the occasional upgrade, I’ve had minimal issues. I manage everything through my service manager, so usually it’s as simple as running an upgrade task and then restarting the service. That said, I have a lot of experience running web services, so that might contribute.

            2. 2

              I’ve configured synapse by hand and using https://github.com/spantaleev/matrix-docker-ansible-deploy/ . Both work well provided you read the documentation.

          2. 1

            you are using matrix.org

            1. 3

              I have an account on matrix.org, true. That doesn’t prevent me from having accounts elsewhere. A matrix.org account is sometimes useful.

              1. 3


                I run my own too (@sumit:battlepenguin.im). It works pretty well, and I even have bridges working. Overall I think it’s way easier to stand up than XMPP (everything is over HTTP; there is that weird federated port but you can now use a normal LetsEncrypt cert and stick it behind a Traefik or HAProxy frontend).

                I will say, scaling it would be difficult. I’ve heard other people complain about larger matrix servers with a lot of users and matrix.org has had issues with theirs after multiple huge refactors that dropped CPU usage. I think Matrix would be way better if there were multiple server implementations like ActivityPub does (Mastodon, Pleroma, Peertube, etc.) but it looks like development on the Go implementation is still slow going.

      4. 1

        Yes, go to Matrix, let the eternal september end here.

    6. 6

      Looks like Alpine Linux switched to oftc.

      1. 1

        sad that there is not consensus around libera, though i guess having multiple networks keeps the overall ecosystem more resilient.

        1. 14

          oftc has been around as an alternative to freenode for 20 years, and has what I would consider a responsible parent organization. It’s not surprising that some people would pick it over something unproven.

        2. 4

          On one hand, why would you trust the folks who lost control of freenode to not lose control of libera.chat?

          1. 11

            who better to recognise the warning signs!

          2. 2

            I’ll take people who now demonstrably have experience over people who could be naive.

        3. 3

          I think oftc is intended to be predominantly open source project specific.
          I’ll probably think of it this way in my mind, even it isn’t exactly correct[1]: oftc for open source projects; libera for anything else.

          [1]: libera can also be used for open source projects of course

    7. 5

      An interesting perspective of the takeover from the sidelines. Seems like some things might be personal.

    8. 5

      I wrote up my comments on this whole debacle here: https://christine.website/blog/final-chapter-2021-05-20

    9. 2

      Did anyone else go to libera.chat and find their nick had already been registered?

      1. 9

        Many people did. Someone ran a bot to try to scoop up usernames. Contact support in #libera and they’ll sort you out.

    10. 2

      If you or a project you know is looking for a new home for chatrooms, I can hook you up with Jabber+webchat+optional IRC bridge: https://cheogram.com/freedomware-muc/

    11. 1

      The logical next step would be for Oracle to buy Freenode.

      /me ducks